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May 14, 2009

But what do they scream at the moment of surcease?

Filed under: Religion, Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:09 am

Do atheists have better sex? Over at the Blowfish Blog (via Alternet), materialist girl Greta Christina says yes, yes, yes.

To me, the idea that, out of nothing but earth and water and sunlight, these wildly complex living beings have developed, not only with the capacity for consciousness but with the capacity to create the experience of ecstasy for ourselves and one another…that is just jaw-droppingly astonishing. We can create the experience of joy, of deep, expansive pleasure that takes us out of ourselves and into one another…and we do it through a complex re-arrangement of the energy of the sun, and the atoms and molecules of the planet.

That is magnificent. That, more than any spiritual belief I ever had, makes me feel both humble and proud. That makes me feel intimately connected with the rest of the Universe…in a way that no spiritual practice ever did. What’s that old hippie song about how we’re stardust, made of billion- year- old carbon? You don’t have to believe in metaphysical energy to think that that is wicked cool.

There’s something else, too. When you look at human beings from a materialist and evolutionary standpoint, not as special spiritual entities or children of the Goddess but simply as another twig on the evolutionary tree…that view puts sex squarely front and center in the human experience. Sex has an immensely important place in the evolutionary scheme. Darwin wrote an entire book about it.

Why does sex feel so good? Sex feels so good because it evolved to feel good. Sex feels profoundly, transcendently amazing because evolutionary forces strongly favor animals who really, really like to boff. That’s an oversimplification — for one thing, evolution can also favor animals who are picky about their sex partners — but it is a huge part of the picture./snip/

In other words: According to a materialist viewpoint, the capacity for transcendent sexual joy is hard- wired into our brains…and it’s deeply and powerfully hard- wired, as a crucial and central feature of our lives, by hundreds of millions of years of evolution. /snip/

[This] means that the act of sex, and the experience of sexual pleasure, connects us to every other living thing on earth. We are the cousins of everything that lives on this planet, with a common ancestor of primordial soup going back billions of years…and we are all related, not entirely but substantially, because of sex.

That is awesome. That makes me want to go f*ck right now, just so I can feel connected with my fish and tetrapod and primate ancestors. That is entirely made of win.

Now, I would argue that the experience of Extreme Connectedness she describes is a spiritual experience. But why get all is-too-is-not over such a plainly lovely, and passionate, piece of writing? Primordial soup never sounded so hot.

April 30, 2009

How I Met Your Mut’ah

Filed under: Religion — posted by Chris @ 9:39 am

What’s a young Shiite Muslim to do when his religion forbids sex outside of marriage and he wants to have sex? Get married of course! Hey, if you can end the marriage with a text (technically it would take three text messages) why not wed your hookup? Actually, Betwa Sharma points out in this fascinating Daily Beast article, it is only a subset of Shiites who believe the Quran provides a loophole of temporary “pleasure marriages” called Mut’ah. Sharma profiles a twentysomething Shiite in New York who’s been “married” 25 times.

Like permanent marriages in Islam, Mut’ah marriages are only allowed with other Muslims, Christians, and Jews. His partners have been Catholic and Muslim-American, Spanish, Lebanese, Turkish, Palestinian, and Pakistani. Selman says many of the women he meets express “shock” when he explains he must marry them before he can proceed.

Yeah, I think a marriage proposal might disrupt my flirty patter. But only for a minute:

According to Selman, the woman has to say, “I marry you, myself.” The man replies, “I accept.” A token bridal gift must be given-in Selman’s case, usually tea, juice, or chocolates.

Wow. I thought I at least had to buy her a meal.

While some might say these Muslims aren’t taking marriage very seriously, I think we can all agree they seem to be taking hooking-up very seriously. As Muhsin Alidina of the Al Khoei Islamic Center in Queens explains Mut’ah:

Alidina says the crucial components of the Mut’ah marriage are the mutual acceptance of the marriage, a bridal gift to the wife paid in cash, and her obligation to stay single for two menstrual cycles after the marriage ends to ensure she is not pregnant before entering into another. The husband is responsible for a child conceived during the marriage, even if the marriage lasts only a few hours, and religious leaders recommend that the contract be put in writing so women can claim their rights in Islamic courts that recognize Mut’ah marriages.

Ugh. Forget it. I’m just gonna stay home Friday night and watch Dollhouse instead.

Check out the full must-read article here.

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